Ecologically-minded fashions are increasingly popular today. While low-maintenance garments like hemp t-shirts can be cleaned at home, upscale designer gowns and suits require special care. Buying eco-fashions is a great way to reduce your environmental impact.
What Is Eco-Fashion?
The Sustainable Technology Education Project (STEP) defines eco-fashion as clothes “that take into account the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry.” It’s all about trying to reduce the environmental impact of clothing, at every step of the process.
Eco-fashion incorporates all-natural, organic, and recycled materials into clothing. There are currently no standardized regulations for what can and can’t be labeled eco-friendly in the U.S., but the European Union is developing standards.
While organic and sustainable garments tend to cost more than conventionally produced items, some retailers are offering more lower-priced eco-friendly options. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest purchaser of organic cotton, and Target recently introduced a line of 100% organic clothing. Being “green” can be easy and affordable.
What it’s made from
Sustainable fabrics are the main component in making an eco-friendly garment. Organically grown versions of fabrics you already wear, like cotton and wool, are becoming easier to find. Other materials, like bamboo and hemp, are new to the fashion world and add trendsetting prestige to an outfit, along with the environmental advantages.
To learn which can be cleaned at home which require dry cleaning, see the eco-fabrics cleaning chart below.
The bamboo plant does not need pesticides or fertilizers, requires very little water, and can grow up to several feet per day. Bamboo also “breathes” heavily-a bamboo grove releases 35% more oxygen than other trees. Bamboo fabric is more absorbent than cotton, quick-drying, and has naturally occurring anti-microbial properties that help stop odor.